“Did God Say?” A Devotion on Genesis 3:1

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” —Genesis 3:1

Our scripture lessons for Lent feature a wily bunch of tempters, the serpent, Satan, the devil, who pose questions that cast doubt on the truth of God’s Word. That’s their job.

Although they make for a colorful cast of characters we don’t really need them since such questioning is more likely to come not from them but from deep within us.

We are all partisans in the perennial human rebellion against God. We revel in our personal sovereignty and unbridled freedom.

God made us for worship, but instead of worshiping God we “worship ourselves and the things we have made,” as one of our old UCC prayers of confession so wisely put it.

Some of what God says seems just too good to be true, and so we question the truth of it.

Did God say, “I will be your God and you will be my people?”

Did God say, “Look, I am doing a new thing, do you not see it?”

Did God say, “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand?”

Did God say, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope?”

Did God say these wonderful words, full of comfort and love, of promise and hope for the whole human family?

Yes! God said them.

Prayer: God of the future, let us put our full trust in you, and in the truth that is always breaking forth from your Holy Word.

(This is my United Church of Christ Daily Devotion for February 18, 2018. To see the original go here. To subscribe to the UCC Daily Devotional and receive it every day by e-mail go here.)

Advertisements

“Scorched by Holy Fire!” A Devotion on Jeremiah 20:8b-9

“For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’ then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
—Jeremiah 20: 8b-9 Continue reading

“Signing up for the Loyalty Program”

“Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and of people.” —Proverbs 3:3-4

Many of the companies I do business with, such as on-line retailers, airlines, and hotel chains, have “loyalty programs.” They offer “rewards” to customers who are loyal to their brand. Continue reading

“Epiphany: A Drama in Three Acts” (The Baptism of Jesus, Year B)

The reason for my title is there are three Biblical stories that are traditionally read in worship during Epiphany, and they all share the same purpose. Epiphany means “appearance” or “manifestation”, and the themes of Epiphany are about seeing and knowing Jesus as the incarnate One, the Light of the World. Continue reading

My Epiphany Hymn “They Sought Him by a Star” with music.

Back in 2001 I wrote the lyrics to this hymn for Epiphany. We are going to sing it Sunday at the church I attend in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. This hymn has only been sung a couple times before, once in Pittsfield right after I wrote it, with lovely original music by Lou Steigler, and once at Green’s Farms Church in Westport, Connecticut, where the then minister of music, Eileen Hunt, set it to Darwell’s 145th. I look forward to hearing it this way for the first time. Thanks to Ron Hanft for matching up the lyrics with the tune for the bulletin. It is copyrighted to me, but you may use it with attribution.

My Top Ten Posts from 2017

Once again, as the old year passes and the new year beckons, it has been my custom to look back at my most popular posts of the year. Some years a theme emerges, and this year the idea of perseverance seems to be the theme. In the light of God’s unending faithfulness and lovingkindness let us all live in hope in 2018. Continue reading